I recently heard of a store in Norristown called Plymouth Produce.  It’s all of about 8 miles from us in a pretty empty shopping center.  (Parts of Norristown are pretty blighted…)  While I wasn’t in the market for another produce store, the intriguing part of what I had heard was that they had 2 long aisles devoted to Mexican and Italian products – things one doesn’t usually find at the local grocery store Mexican or Italian Food Aisles.

I decided to give it a shot.

The store itself was exactly what I expected to find in a rundown, empty shopping mall – it was a bit rundown.  But the stuff IN the store wasn’t.  Produce looked fresh, cans weren’t dirty, dusty, or rusty.  It appeared that, at minimum, they had a good turnover of product – and fairly reasonable prices.

The downside to the produce was it was all prebagged and priced.  With only two of us, I don’t need 8 zucchini, even if the price is only $2.50.  Or 8 bell peppers, 6 ears of corn…  I’m just not going to use it.  But I did pick up a bag of tomatillos.  I don’t see them often at the local grocery, and a bag of about a dozen tomatillos of various sizes was only $2.50.

It was fun walking up and down the aisles – I found some fun products like strawberry balsamic vinegar for a mere $2.99.  Okay, I’m not expecting “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” for $2.99, but it looked as if it would be something fun.  They also had lemon and orange.  I figured if nothing else, they’d make a good reduction. I bought all three.  It won’t go to waste.  A bit of papardelle pasta, Cento cherry pepper shooters, canellini beans, tuna in olive oil… time to head over to  Mexico.

I was surprised at how many of the Mexican products I already had.  I still have lots of chipotles in adobo, sofrito, recaito, red and green moles…  I passed on a lot of things I can pick up closer to home, but I did get some piloncillo!  It’s unrefined sugar in a cone shape.  I have NO idea what I’m going to use it for, but I had to have some!  It was too good (and cheap!) to pass up.

In the front of the store is a deli counter as well as a display unit that had fresh Mexican chorizo with jalapenos, several types of queso fresco, and something I hadn’t seen in years  (and never pre-made!) – Sopes!

Sopes are thick corn tortillas with a rim, for lack of a better description.  Little flat-bottom bowls.  Perfect for filling with shredded pork and beans and cheese and the like.  When fried, they’re crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.   I bought a pack.  And some chorizo, and two types of queso fresco.

Dinner was starting to come together!

I thought a layered approach was the way to go and started with the tomatillos.  This is a bit of a spin on a Rick Bayless recipe…

Tomatillo Sauce

  • 10-12 tomatillos
  • 3 tbsp salsa ranchera
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 cups broth (I used beef, tonight)
  • cilantro, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Remove the husk from the tomatillos and rinse them to remove the sticky residue. Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet and broil until they are slighly blackened.

Place the tomatillos and the chiles in a food processor and pulse until they are broken up, but not pureed.

Cook the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil until soft.

Add to the food processor. Pulse until everything is almost smooth.

Fry the puree over medium heat until it starts to thicken, darken, and smell very fragrant.

Slowly add the broth, stirring occasionally, and cook sauce until it thickens.

Add the chopped cilantro and stir well.


  • 4 links fresh chorizo
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Begin browning diced onion in a bit of olive oil.  Remove chorizo from casing and add to pan.  Cook through.

Add tomato sauce and simmeruntil nice and thick.

Check for seasonings and add salt, pepper, and additional hot sauce, if desired.

The beans were unadulterated canned black beans, and the rice was white rice cooked in broth with a cup of frozen corn.

To assemble:

Fry the sopes according to package instructions.

Fill with a spoonful of chorizo filling,.

Top with a spoonful of black beans.

Top that with tomatillo sauce.

Sprinkle queso fresco on top and serve rice on the side.


These really were awesome!    All through the meal we were both saying “Gee, these are good” and “Wow, I really like these”.

I dirtied four pots, but it was worth it!

Tomorrow morning, I’m heading up to the new Wegmans in Collegeville.  I already have my shoppers card, my list, my coupon book, and my card for a free reusable shopping bag (I only have about 15 of them right now… why not get a few more, eh?!?)  I’m hoping that a Monday morning trip will get me in and out within a reasonable amount of time.  But it’s a brand-new store, only open a week.

We shall see…